Posted in: Medicine

Cold Hands Could Mean More Than Possibly Having A Warm Heart

Hands with a snow heart

The old adage that cold hands mask a warm heart, thus correlating how nice a person is based on body temperature is a misconception. However, those cold hands or feet, ears, nose, and toes could be a sign of something more medically serious.

If you have ever experienced an abnormal change in skin tone or sensation of fingers and toes, going from white to blue (cyanosis), or red, numb, throbbing, and tingling when briefly exposed to cold or while undergoing stress, you could be suffering from primary or secondary Raynaud’s (syndrome, disease, condition, or can also be referred to as phenomenon).

These aforementioned symptoms of hypoxia can also be associated with other potentially serious health problems such as thyroid disease, atherosclerosis, or lupus, and should be properly diagnosed by a medical professional.

According to The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) :

“Raynaud’s is a rare disorder that affects the arteries. Arteries are blood vessels that carry blood (away) from your heart to different parts of your body. The disorder is marked by brief episodes of vasospasm, which is a narrowing of the blood vessels. Vasospasm of the arteries reduces blood flow to the fingers and toes. Primary Raynaud’s is more common and tends to be less severe than secondary Raynaud’s.”

Risk factors for Raynaud’s afflict women more often than men, so when we say we’re cold while you’re breaking a sweat, we’re not exaggerating. The severity of the disease can depend upon family history, living climate, age, injuries to extremities, occupational exposure to chemicals, illnesses/other diseases, repetitive movements such as typing, medications, and smoking. Allergy, migraine, blood pressure, beta blockers, and oral birth control drugs can exasperate the condition.

The Mayo Clinic assures:

“Treatment of Raynaud’s disease depends on its severity and whether you have any other health conditions. For most people, Raynaud’s disease is more a nuisance than a disability.”

Although there is no cure, this circulatory condition can be managed with lifestyle changes that inhibit or prevent excessive vasomotor spasms from occurring. Avoid prolonged exposure to frigid temperatures; going indoors, wearing layers, thick socks, and gloves. Limit consumption of alcohol and caffeine. Find healthy ways to cope with emotional stress. Exercise stimulates circulation. Quit smoking, as it constricts blood vessels.

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